IBM's 100th Birthday: 10 Top Presents From IBM To Us


The First Hard Drive -- 5 MBs In A Room

In 1956, IBM invented the first hard disk, RAMAC 350 Disk Storage Unit, the first device to allow large quantities of data to be randomly accessed on a bit-by-bit basis.

Let's define "large quantities of data." The RAMAC 350 stored 5 million data encoded characters (5 MBs) on a a device with 50 disks rotating at 1,200 rpms that provided a 800-millisecond access speed, all in a compact, 6-foot-tall enclosure.

Contrast that to 2011, where several manufacturers are offering hard drives with capacities of up to 3 TBs of data.